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Activists protest arrest of rights defenders, say: Centre plans majoritarian rule in India

By Our Representative
 
Culminating into mass protests across the state against “growing attacks” on civil liberties, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM)-supported eight-day long campaign which ended on September 5 has seen activists carrying out several activities, including distributing parcha, social media campaign, public action, submitting memorandum to the President and so on. 
The memorandum, handed over to local authorities, said, several lawyers, professors, academics, writers and activists – Anand Teltumbde, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu, Mahesh Raut, Surendra Gadling, Sudha Bharadwaj, Shoma Sen, Sudhir Dhawle, Sona Wilson, Varavara Rao, and Vernon Gonsalves – have been “falsely accused” in the Bhima-Koregaon conspiracy case under sedition and Maoist conspiracy changes.
One of the accused, the memorandum regretted, is Stan Swamy, who has been struggling for adivasi rights for decades in Jharkhand, even as the main perpetrators of the Bhima-Koregaon violence -- Hindutva protagonists -- "roam free".
It further said, 24 anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)-National Register of Citizens (NRC) protestors have also been “falsely arrested” under the Unlawful Activities (Prohibition) Act (UAPA) in Delhi and Assam.
These cases expose the extent to which the central government is willing to undermine constitutional values and suppress dissent, the memorandum said, accusing the Central government of taking the country towards religious majoritarianism and is coming down heavily on anyone who questions its communal agenda and anti-people policies.
As part of the national call given by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, the protests were organised in Bokaro, Garhwa, Jamshedpur, Palamu and Ranchi. In Ranchi, the state capital, several activists came together at Albert Ekka Chowk to protest. "September 5 marks the third anniversary of the assassination of the fearless journalist Gauri Lankesh by Hindutva forces", a JMM communique said.
Organizations which participated in the protests inlcuded Adivasi Adhikar Manch, Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, Adivasi Women’s Network, Alliance for Defending Freedom, All-India Democratic Women’s Association, APCR, Bagaicha, CPI (ML), CPI(ML) Red Star, Hoffman Law Associates, Human Rights Law Network, Indian People’s Theatre Association, Jharkhand Nagrik Prayas, Land Rights Resource Centre, Mother Teresa International Foundation, etc.
The demands of the protestors included immediate release of activists arrested in the Bhima-Koregaon case and withdrawal of the cases and withdrawal of all cases against CAA-NRC protestors; repeal of UAPA and the sedition law; end to the politics of religious majoritarianism.

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